Arsene Wenger and his young side's dream of Champions League glory were cut short mercilessly by defending champions Barcelona, and in particular by a 5'7" Argentine "legend in the making" named Lionel Messi.
Arsenal were without their three first choice players, Cesc Fabregas, Andrei Arshavin, and William Gallas, who all were sidelined due to injury. While Arshavin is expected to be back within a couple of weeks, the other two will surely miss the rest of the season.
Without their main creative midfielder and playmaker Fabregas, very few would have expected Arsenal to stage an upset.
Although, after the shock goal by Bendtner within 18 minutes from the start, some might have hoped to see a miracle. But the "FIFA Player of the Year" Messi proved his worth by scoring a hat-trick within the first half, and returning with the fourth one in the second half, burying the hatchet on Arsenal's European dreams.
Maybe it is time for Wenger to shelve his "sign only young talented inexperienced players" policy, and bring on some quality players with experience. If Arsenal really wishes to win any silverware, they need to buy new players with experience. Wenger's policy has proved a total flop. Although Gunners fans may argue that Arsenal are doing well with their bunch of young players, the truth is Arsenal has not won any major title since 2005, after Theirry Henry left.
Barcelona looked in control throughout the game, and except for a few good but unfruitful moves, Arsenal never really threatened Victor Valdes. Except for the resilient and improving Bendtner, Arsenal's attacking options never looked impressive.
While Eduardo has been totally off-color this season after returning from injury, the Gunners' other youngsters failed to make any impression. Nasri touted by many as the "Little Zidane" was completely outplayed and outclassed by Xavi. Same with Diaby and Denilson, who both looked out of focus. Although Walcott made some impressive plays in the first 20 minutes, thereafter he too faded out under the Messi blizzard.
Wenger needs to seriously give thought to bringing in experienced players as it was displayed today that his seemingly young team lacked the experience or the quality to control, leave alone defeat Barcelona.
The awful Silvestre's mistake cost Arsenal the first goal from Messi. Sagna as well as the otherwise impressive Vermaelen also looked unable to control the Catalans' onslaught. Except for Clichy, who was able to keep up with Messi at least, the other defenders looked poor in front of quality attack.
Wenger has been very miserly in his transfers. He has a fairly big budget every summer, but invests cheaply on low cost efficient players. But on the contrary, he forgets that almost in the majority of times, a high-valued player has better quality than a cheaper player. The fact was proved against Barcelona on Tuesday.
Arsenal's performance also brought forward poor squad depth in comparison to its other two main rivals in the Premier League this summer, Chelsea and United. Chelsea have been doing well or rather great in the absence of Essien, Cole, Carvalho, and Ivanovic with their substitutes Ferreira, Alex, or Zhirkov, and United also look impressive with Nani, Valencia, and youngster Macheda replacing Giggs or Scholes.
On the other hand, injury to only three of their main players, Fabregas, Arshavin, and Gallas, has virtually turned the promising Arsenal team into a total mess. The Gunners are out of the Champions League, and their chances in the Premier League look bleak, given their last couple of performance against lowly ranked teams like Hull City, Wolves, and Birmingham.
Wenger's young starlets have clearly failed to handle the pressure as was proved by the Messi blizzard at Nou Camp. They lack the experience of big matches and that proved their nemesis.
With Wenger admitting on Tuesday morning in an interview that he will consider splashing some cash to bring on new experienced players, chances are that this summer may see some big name and high-value players coming to Emirates stadium.
The likes of Chamakh and Caceres are making the rounds for Arsenal's most prospective signings this summer. But for all those to materialize, Wenger needs to give up his miserly attitude in the transfer market and bring some good quality players.
There is an old saying that "In order to gain something you need to lose something." Wenger has to spend a big amount in the transfer market if he wishes to win some silverware for the trophy-thirsty Gunners and Gooners.